20110602 usda food plate
Goodbye Food Pyramid, hellow Food Plate. The USDA unveiled a new, simpler icon to illustrate nutrition and food guidelines. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Later this morning the U.S. Department of Agriculture will dump the food pyramid in favor of what it's billing as a new healthy-eating-icon.

From the Marketplace Sustainability desk, Adriene Hill tells us how the USDA is hoping to market a healthier diet to Americans.

Adriene Hill: Ask most any public health expert what they think of the decision to retire the food pyramid, and you'll probably get an answer like this:

Nidhi Agrawal: I think that's a great idea. It's been very controversial. The food pyramid is very controversial.

Nidhi Agrawal is a professor at the Kellogg School of Management. She thinks the new icon should give people visual cues about how to eat well, and leave out the sweets and fats that sat on top of the old pyramid.

Sarah Bleich from the Bloomberg School of Public Health says the new icon should also be easy to understand.

Sarah Bleich: Americans have very low nutritional literacy. So you have to keep the message as simple as possible.

The new icon is reported to be very simple: a plate shape, divided into sections for the different food groups. Bleich thinks it could be a better way to encourage healthy eating, but doubts it'll escape controversy.

She says telling people what to eat is almost always contentious.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

Follow Adriene Hill at @adrienehill